We can all get caught up in the moment in relationships and parenthood and start worrying about what is fair. The “unfair” side usually falls a little further toward ourselves and the inner dialogue starts with, “He always gets to sleep in! He doesn’t have to manage the chaos of home/work/life,” or “Why is my husband always gone while so-and-so’s spouse is home for dinner every night?” The sob stories start rolling, and once we start, it is difficult to stop.
Instead of focusing on what is fair, we should all focus on what works. Maybe family dinner will never work for you; so it's all about finding other ways to connect as a family. It could be Saturday brunch or Sunday adventures to the park, the beach or some other activity that gets the family moving and doing things together. It could be planning trips as a family for the day you’ll be able to take advantage of leave time and hop on a plane. Think about the experiences you want to create for your family, both in the day-to-day and in the big picture, and find ways to integrate those baby steps into your routine.
Mom’s attitude is key to how kids develop the ability to handle adversity.
Life as a military family is full of bumps and bruises, no doubt. Fortunately, we have all been pushed to better appreciate the good times and take advantage of them. We have the unique (and difficult) opportunity to be a positive role models for our own children, to instill a “make it work” attitude. We all know that lying in bed or whining to our friends is no way to make that happen.
As the primary caregiver—in most cases, anyway—mom’s attitude is key to how kids develop the ability to handle adversity. Instead of lamenting your situation, explain to the kids, "The Army needs daddy to do something," or "Daddy is tired from doing his job, so let’s let him rest and then we will play." It isn’t easy to keep that positive, upbeat attitude going, day-in and day-out, but with practice it does get easier.
Having trouble staying positive? Set aside one hour, or whatever you need, as part of your day where you can write down (or whine to a friend) about all the ways life has wronged you. Slowly start cutting down your whine-time (and maybe increasing your wine-time) to an hour a week, an hour a month and so on. Yes, life will still beat you with baseball bat sometimes, but if you work to maintain a positive outlook everyone in your life (you included) will feel the benefits.